Mid-Day Meditation with Focus Fitness
Just around the corner from our nursery at Styer’s, Focus Fitness Brandywine offers expert guidance in yoga, pilates, meditation, and much more. We couldn’t ask for better neighbors! For times when we can’t squeeze in a visit to the studio, meditation instructor Siddiqa Salter, who also owns Blossom Peace and Wellness Centers, taught us a simple, effective ritual that takes just a few minutes—the perfect break for a busy day. She also shared some insights for transitioning into the new year:
January provides us with the opportunity to evaluate the previous year and take inventory of ourselves and our lives. We are invited to look at what worked, what is still working, and what behaviors, patterns, and thoughts are not serving us.
Meditation is a pathway back in-- it shows us what is really going on inside of ourselves. Absolutely everyone, regardless of their health, wealth, personality and intelligence can meditate. It is free, it can be as simple or as complicated as you like, and it is available any time.
The most important aspect of mediation is equally available to all humans, because learning how to meditate begins with the breath. Practicing regular, mindful, long deep breathing is a powerful way to calm the mind and the body while simultaneously increasing your energy and feelings of vitality. It is one of the most profound and useful tools we have as humans to deal with stress and stress-related illness. With a little patience, practice and perseverance you will feel a significant difference in your life, your stress levels, and your ability to connect with yourself.
Long Deep Breathing Practice
1. Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor or in a chair. Sit up tall through the spine. Relax the shoulders, face, and belly.
2. Close the eyes to promote turning your attention within and begin breathing through the nose.
3. Observe yourself breathing. Notice how the breath comes into the body, where it travels, notice it all the way to the end of the inhale, and then observe how the inhale rolls into the exhale. Follow the exhale up and out of the body. Keep your attention focused on the exhale until you observe it turning into the next inhale.
4. Continue to observe every inhale and every exhale. Take your time. Set your intention to bring focus and mindfulness to each and every breath.
5. If a thought comes into the mind, notice the thought and then turn your attention immediately back to the inhale and the exhale. It is perfectly fine if you have to draw your mind back to the breath many times during this practice.
6. Gently try to make the duration of the inhale the same length as the exhale.You may benefit from slowly counting to see how long it takes the body to inhale and then counting in the same slow pace to observe how long it takes for the exhale. Try to match the numbers.
7. After several breaths, gently increase your count by 1. If, for example, it took you 4 counts to inhale and 4 counts to exhale, try increasing it to a 5 count. The goal is to comfortably increase the length of your breath over time.
8. Practice this technique for 3-30 minutes, depending on your ability to sit and focus.